Political map of Sub-Saharan Africa 4 February 1939 (Spanish Civil War in Africa): In July 1936 the Spanish Civil War broke out, with the Spanish Nationalists quickly seizing power in Spanish Morocco (July 1936 military uprising in Melilla). The rest of Spain's African empire soon followed suit and by mid-October the Nationalists were in control of the Spanish colonies in the Sahara (Spanish Sahara) and Guinea (Spanish Guinea).